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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Act 3, Scene 1

The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1 on April 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to blog archive at the bottom of the page.

7:15 a.m. Venice is shaking off its slumber. Church bells have rung sporadically from the different sestieri of the city for about an hour, but unlike the predictable cacophony of so many bells routinely ringing together at 6 p.m., these too seem somehow disoriented and disorganized, waking from a good night's sleep. Along the grand canal, as elsewhere, waiters gently serve coffee and cornetti to yawning tourists, anxious to begin their day of sightseeing. 

The narrow streets have not yet shaken off their morning shadows, and the late September frostiness they generate. Sunlight glints off the rippling grand canal. The gondole are quiet, rocking themselves awake, nudging the colourful striped poles when the odd boat passes on its way to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to the market stalls, or to pick up the trash from hotels along the smaller canals around the city. In the San Polo district, north and west of the Ponte di Rialto, the Pasticceria Rizzardini welcomes its regular crowd along with the many tourists who know they have found the source of some of Venice's best pastry. The shop is warm in contrast to the brisk morning air beyond its doors and foggy windows. Between noisy blasts from the busy espresso machine, we hear quiet chatter among those who wait for their turn to order. The aroma of good coffee is almost enough to settle nerves. Mouths water at the sight of such abundance: cornetti con creme, con cioccolato (bignè al cioccolato), tramezzini, fritters, meringue venezia, millefeuilles, cakes, cookies, panna fresco, strudel and more.

A pair of elegant looking men exchange polite conversation as they inch nearer to the pastry counter. One is clean shaven with a thatch of red hair, the other sports a beard.

Manet (to the woman behind the counter)
Due tramezzini e due caffe doppi, per piacere. (To his companion) Please, Rosso, this is my pleasure.

Henri Fantin-Latour, Portrait of Edouard Manet, 1867

Ah, thank you Edouard; that's kind of you. I'm very much in need of coffee.

Rosso FiorentinoDeposition. 1521. Oil on wood. 375 × 196 cm. 
Pinacoteca Comunale di Volterra, Italy